“I had a lot of time this past week on planes to chat with fellow cow people and of course the stories flowed, but my buddy Bert was never far away from my thoughts and everyone else that knew him as well.
There are so many Bert stories that would encompass over the 40 years which I knew him. He took me touring many many times through snow, rain and sunshine. Spent many a night in his home and had the odd drink with him. He showed a lot of cows for us through the years. I can’t help but think of Bert every time I see a picture of Duncan Belle and one of the best stories involves the two of them.
Duncan Belle made a trip out east before landing in Iowa for a bit. While out east Bert saw her and fell head over heels in love with her which was good as he was Judging Madison that year. He made her Grand Champion and then asked Lorne Ella if he could show her for him later and of course “Rockie” said yes. They were a match made in heaven. After Madison, we took Belle to Louisville and she was starting to get a tad on the stale side and we (me) under bagged her by about 10 hours (It would not be the first or last time I would be called a “Milk Pussy”). Belle was 3rd that day, for better or worse.
I was judging the “Royal” that next week and because we had helped with the sale of “Belle” and we had her since before Madison, I thought it was best that her new owners not show her at the Royal. We loaded her on the truck for Toronto in Louisville in hopes that she would be ready for the next year. I guess there was a language problem and her owner miss-understood the phrase: “We won’t show her at the Royal”, or “please don’t show her at the Royal”. Judging the Royal was a big deal and very competitive. I think maybe a 3 way tie for Premier Breeder. (Mosser still brings up that had I not dropped his cow one placing he would have won it alone, etc.)
I remember the Sr. 3 Year old class like it was yesterday as they starting coming in and seemed to never stop. There were a bunch of cows that could have won. Finally they stopped coming in and I asked the ring man if that was all and he said, “no we still have one coming”. As I looked over to where the cows come in I saw Bert’s head. I could have and damn near did puke. “Belle” was the last one I looked at and by the time I got to her I had worked myself into a little bit of a rage. Obviously I didn’t need to ask when she calved, how many calves she had or how wet she liked her beet pulp. Bert led her like the pro he was and “Belle” never missed a beat. Her and I made eye contact and even in a great class, she had to win. I had made no secret all year since I first saw her that she was as good as it gets. “Belle” was not Grand (she would win the next two years) but she was best udder and got beat by a pretty good cow. Through the years that followed we replayed that day many times always with a lot of laughs. I’ll bet as soon as Bert got to heaven and kissed Hazel, he went and grabbed the halter of Duncan Belle.”
Visitation to be held at Graham A. Giddy Funeral Home, 280 St. David Street South, Fergus on Friday, February 23rd , 2018 from 1:00 – 4:00pm & 7:00 – 9:00pm & at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 325 St. George St. West, Fergus on Saturday, February 24th, 2018 from 10:00 to 10:45am. A Memorial Service will take place at the church beginning at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Bertram & Hazel Stewart 4-H Dairy Education Award and Bursary c/o Ontario 4-H.